I recently spoke in a workshop at the Women on The Front Lines World Convention, wow did we have a powerful time! I had never been to Phoenix Arizona before so I was in awe of this foreign desert landscape.
As I flew over the desert, scanning the land looking for the Grand Canyon, the verse: Isaiah 43:19 kept filling my mind. “Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to things of old. Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”
With this word in my heart, I scoured the desert looking for streams. How beautiful these streams were in the midst of such a dry land. I realized as I pondered this that these streams would be almost impossible to find if I were on the ground, lost. I would be endlessly walking in search of one, but from above, from my perspective, I could see them plainly. God says to those of you who feel lost and parched, “Don’t you see it?” If the answer is no, then we need to get ourselves into his presence so we can see the view from above!
I have learnt over many dry and parched seasons that my default is to follow many mirages to fulfil my thirst. I have sought it in other people, my spouse, my circumstances and through distractions only to get to a place where I realize that it was in me all along, I just needed to stop and sit with Jesus and receive!
After the conference, I felt such a refreshing, like I had taken a BIG drink from this desert stream. I felt I had a clear direction and focus for the journey ahead. On our way to the airport, our Uber driver started telling us about the dust storms that moved across the desert and the city. He described it as a wall of sand moving eerily across the land, a force where you could not see anything beyond it and when it passed over you, you were blinded in the midst of it. Wow, we’ve never experienced anything like that before in Canada.
The day after we flew home, the news spread that a massive dust storm was sweeping across Phoenix! We had just missed it! I was so relieved that we didn’t have to experience first hand what our driver had just described but then as soon as I arrived home, I felt like I was trying to get lured into my own personal dust storm.
Have you ever experienced a whirlwind in your life? A moment when you feel lost in confusion, overwhelm and spiritual blindness. A bunch of circumstances in my life all of a sudden began to rise up and spin around me like a whirlwind, I couldn’t catch my breath. Nothing traumatic or too dramatic by any means, but you get it, those moments when all of your life pressures seem to intensify all at once, all of your coping skills seem to fly out of your hands and you kind of feel paralyzed.
Elijah. He had just finished doing all that God had called him to do and then as a result found himself being hunted down to be killed! Talk about discouragement! He was in despair and had been running through the desert looking for refuge when exasperated he laid down and begged God to take his life, then the angels appeared and gave him food and drink. (they gave him water in the desert) .
Then, God asked him to go and stand on a mountain and when he did a crazy storm passed by!
I1 Kings 19 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
Have you ever had a time when God had given you clarity, a word or a vision for your life then all of a sudden you step out to pursue it and you get hit with a whirlwind?! Yup, me too. But don’t be discouraged. They pass quickly and without harm if you know how to stand in the midst of a life storm.
What I’ve learnt in the midst of my own life storms is this:
- You have to stand in it. If you try to run from it, hide in it, make it stop it only delays the process. Elijah stood.
- It usually gets worse before it gets better. Elijah stood the storm, then the earth quaked THEN the fire. *facepalm
- Storms, earthquakes and fires usually force us to reevaluate what is important and it deepens your dependency on God for vision.
- Storms, earthquakes and fire blows, burns, and breaks away everything that is hindering us from a new thing.
- God WILL always speak to you clearly once the furry passes. “Then after the fire came a gentle whisper”
- After the storm, the earthquake and the fire bring a NEW THING! “Look, don’t you see it?”
So with a lot of overwhelm and “I have no idea what I’m doing” I have stood through this recent sandstorm and I’m just beginning to see the dust settle and before me are many new things! Many new things, I’m going to need God’s strength for!
Don’t despise the testings and storms that come. Ask “God, what new thing are you doing?!”